vitc colin kaepernick

VITC Colin Kaepernick: Moving The Chains

in The News

On August 26th, the QB for the 49ers Colin Kaepernick took a stand by taking a seat.

This deed has polarized the entire league, and has outraged thousands of ignorant NFL fans. Kaepernick is a hero, and his action will be documented in history. However, the racist and bigots are in peak midseason form, and were quick to trash Kaepernick in the twitter-sphere. “Nigger” seems like the go-to insult for most backwoods hillbillies. However, a more common theme is calling him a “pussy” while imploring him to tear an ACL. Even the Republican presidential candidate is asking for him to leave the country. WTF?

NFL fans have some serious reflecting to do.

Where was this outrage when we saw Ray Rice beating the shit out of his then girlfriend? We didn’t see NFL players come out and condemn his actions. Cowboy fans, you had no problem welcoming the man who beat his girlfriend nearly to death. Jerry Jones even called Greg Hardy a “leader” on the field.

But when a young man decides he is tired of seeing his people being treated unjustly, the world loses its shit. When an individual decided enough was enough, and that somehow he needed to speak up, his fellow NFL players felt the need to bash him. When Kaepernick chose to embrace the tidal wave of ridicule and judgment in order to bring national attention to an issue, he is stigmatized as an ungrateful crybaby.

It seems the idea of freedom has been skewed by propaganda and a sense of nationalism. If you think standing for the national anthem should be mandatory, then North Korea is the country for you. Kaepernick’s protest was the most organic patriotic act the NFL has witnessed in a long time. This includes the national anthem, which the defense department pays MILLIONS to the NFL to perform (very patriotic indeed).

Among all the hate and backlash over Kaepernick’s actions, what’s getting lost is the one constant in all of this: Racial injustice is alive and well. While some think police brutality is a liberal conspiracy, the sane segment of the population understands this a prevalent problem in the African American community. Statistics and facts are unfortunate for those who hope to keep this issue in the shadows. An unarmed black person was 5 times more likely to be shot than an unarmed white person in 2015, according to the US census. Black people are incarcerated almost six times more than white. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1/3 black men can expect to enter prison in their lifetime.

While some argue that he should just “stick to football”, athletes are learning to play a critical role in social issues. Superstars are in a unique position to bring attention to issues that a segment of the population would otherwise be oblivious too. His actions have started a conversation that many American’s were unaware of. Kaepernick is not the first, nor will he be the last athlete to stand up for his fellow man. He follows the footsteps of greats like Muhammad Ali, who refused to fight in an unjust war, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who defiantly raised their fist protesting oppression, and Jackie Robinson, who wrote late in his life that he “cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag”. These men were belittled, ridiculed, and labeled as traitors when they decided to take action. However, these men will be remembered favorably in history, just like Kaepernick will.

You have to ask yourself, what side of history will you be on?

Voices In the Crowd (VITC) is a series dedicated to providing a platform for The Bench Wire readers to contribute on a variety of topics. The views and opinions of contributors may not reflect the views of The Bench Wire staff. If you are interested in being a voice in the crowd, email the editor at jd@thebenchwire.com. 

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